What could be better on a hot day than a nice, chilled glass of some of the best rosé wine? The pale pink beverage has seen a surge in popularity over the past few years, and it's not hard to work out why. Much lighter than red wine but no less rich in flavour and aromas, it's the perfect tipple for the summer months.
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But if you’re always sticking with the tried and true stuff from the south of France, you’re definitely missing out. It’s well worth looking further afield – for example, did you know that some great rosés are made right here in the UK? And while it’s tempting to look for the palest pink on the shelves, the darker, more vibrant rosés have plenty to offer too. While the aesthetic allure of the rosé is certainly a factor, the best bottles offer all of the above.
If you’re not sure where to start, read on for our run-down of the best rosés around. There’s something to suit all tastes, along with our very own buyer’s guide for the lowdown on everyone’s favourite pink drink.
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Best rosé wines: At a glance
- Best rosé you can buy |Whispering Angel
- Best Spanish rosé |Ramon Bilbao Lalomba Rosado
- Best British rosé |Hush Heath Nanette’s English Rosé
- Best rosé champagne |Bruno Paillard’s Première Cuvée Rosé
- Best classic provence rosé |M de Minuty Rosé
How to choose the best rosé wine for you
Where do rosé wines come from?
Rosé wines are made pretty much everywhere and from a wide variety of grapes. Top rosé-producing countries include France, Spain, USA, Italy, South Africa and Germany, but you’ll find gems from other countries too, such as Argentina and Portugal – and the UK makes some great ones as well.
How is a rosé wine made?
There are three main methods – and to describe them we’ll defer to Barbara Drew, wine and spirits education specialist for Berry, Brothers and Rudd.
Direct pressing is where the winemaker starts with freshly picked red grapes and presses them so hard that a tiny amount of colour bleeds through into the juice. “This method gives the lightest style of rosé wines, with the barest hint of pink” advises Drew: “Think Sancerre or Provence rosé.”
Then there’s short maceration. Here, the juice from red grapes is left in contact with the skins, for anywhere from six hours to four days. This gives the wine a stronger colour, ranging from vibrant pink colour to a rich, ruby hue. “These wines all share a vibrant fruity character, a medium to full body, and are often slightly higher in alcohol than those made by direct press,” notes Drew.
The third way to make rosé is by simply blending a tiny amount of red wine in with a white, giving it a brilliant bubblegum-type pink hue. This isn’t generally permitted with European wines, but the technique is used to create many rosé champagnes.
What should you look out for when buying rosé?
There’s a wide range of rosés to choose from, from light, citrusy wines to darker, more full-bodied styles. If you’re looking for a rosé to serve with a meal, you have plenty to choose from. Barbara Drew advises: “Rich, warming Navarra rosados, full-bodied Tavel rosés, and spicy, deep wines from Bandol tend to have stronger flavours than the direct press wines, and occasionally a hint of tannin as well, making them excellent food wines. They would go well with anything from spiced mackerel to a lamb tagine.”
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The best rosé wine to buy
1. Whispering Angel: The best rosé you can buy
Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon
You know you’re onto something special the moment you get a whiff of this gorgeous salmon-pink Provence rosé. Its delicate aromas of summer fruits include strawberries, peach, rose-water and orange blossom. It doesn’t disappoint in the mouth either, with the berries beautifully balanced with zesty citrus acidity and a super-smooth finish. Elegant, crisp and complex, it’s one to impress your friends with. Just be warned: the first bottle you buy is unlikely to be the last.
Key specs – ABV: 13%; Country of origin: France
2. Ramon Bilbao Lalomba Rosado: Best Spanish rosé
Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon
From its pale, salmon-pink appearance you might be expecting a Provence wine. In fact, this primarily Grenache-based, full-bodied creamy Rosado is more akin to an oaked white Rioja (even though it hasn’t been anywhere near oak). Intense and very dry, it’s a wonderful accompaniment to any fish or seafood – or, with its delicacy and flavour, delightful on its own.
Key specs – ABV: 13%; Country of origin: Spain
3. Williams Chase Selladore Rosé: Best rosé from a non-traditional producer
Price: £22 | Buy now from Amazon
Williams Chase is best known for its award-winning British vodka, but this crisp and fruity Provençal rosé is just as good – a blend of grenache, syrah and cinsault grapes that slips down far too easily on a warm summer’s day. With delicate notes of peach and grapefruit and a herbal freshness that balances the ripe fruits, it goes a treat with any kind of salad. We love the bottle too – you might well find yourself refilling it with olive oil or sloe gin.
Key specs – ABV: 13%; Country of origin: France
4. Hush Heath Nanette’s English Rosé: Best British rosé
Price: £20 | Buy now from Selfridges
Named after the winemaker Richard Balfour-Lynn’s youngest daughter Nanette, this Kentish pale rosé shows just how far England has come as a winemaker in recent years. A blend of Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay, it’s a refreshing, medium-bodied wine with lively notes of strawberries and apple on the nose, and hints of pear and citrus fruits coming through in the mouth. You don’t need a meal to accompany it, but it goes very nicely with summer foods, especially chicken, pork and fish.
Key specs – ABV: 13%; Country of origin: UK
Buy now from Selfridges
5. Bruno Paillard’s Première Cuvée Rosé Champagne: Best rosé champagne
Price: £57 | Buy now from The Whisky Exchange
There’s a huge range of pink champagnes to choose from these days, but this is our favourite. You get nectarine and white flowers on the nose, while on the mouth it’s very dry, with hints of cranberry and raspberry and nectarine and extremely fine bubbles. Very clean on the palate and fabulously refreshing, it’s a superb aperitif, or a fantastic complement to seafood, light meats and hard cheeses.
Key specs – ABV: 12.5%; Country of origin: France
Buy now from The Whisky Exchange
6. Rustenberg Petit Verdot Rosé: Best South African rosé
Price: £10 | Buy now from Waitrose
This vibrantly coloured rosé hails from Stellenbosch, South Africa’s premium wine region. There’s no shortage of ripe red fruits coming through on the nose and palate, plus a little spice and a clean, refreshing finish – ideal for those who like a burst of flavour in their rosé. Made from the Petit Verdot grape, which gives it its bright colour, it goes a treat with charcuterie.
Key specs – ABV: 13.5%; Country of origin: South Africa
Buy now from Majestic
7. M de Minuty Rosé: Best classic Provence rosé
Price: £15 | Buy now from Majestic
Produced on the St Tropez peninsula, Minuty is a Provençal classic: walk by the beach restaurants in the South of France and you’re sure to see this dry, light, gently fruity and impossibly moreish rosé being consumed in large quantities. A blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah, it’s all you need for the perfect summer barbecue. There’s a special-edition bottle out this year too, by Minneapolis-based pop artist Ashley Mary, which makes a great gift.
Key specs - ABV: 13%; Country of origin: France
Buy now from Majestic